From Kansas State University's:

Consortium for Agricultural Soils Mitigation of Greenhouse Gases



Charles W. Rice, K-State Soil Microbiology, National CASMGS Coordinator

(785) 532-7217

Scott Staggenborg, K-State Extension Northeast Area Crops and Soils

Specialist (785) 532-5833

Kent McVay, K-State Soil and Water Conservation Specialist (785)


Steve Watson, CASMGS Communications (785) 532-7105




January 13, 2004

No. 29


This week's issue:


Science, Research, and Policy:

* Current Greenhouse Gas Concentrations

* How Much CO2 Do You Emit When Driving (or Mowing Your Lawn)?

* Comparison of 5 Different Methods of Carbon Sequestration

* Prehistoric Farming May Have Caused Climate Change



* Kansas Coalition for Carbon Management meeting



* Early Activity At the Chicago Climate Exchange








The current global CO2 concentration in the atmosphere is 372 parts per

million, according to the Carbon Dioxide Information Analysis Center

(CDIAC). CDIAC is the primary global-change data and information

analysis center of the U.S. Department of Energy

( This CO2 reading is an average of readings

taken in 2002 at Barrow, Alaska; Mauna Loa, Hawaii; American Samoa; and

the South Pole. As a comparison, atmospheric CO2 levels were 280 ppm

pre-1750, and 369 ppm in 2000.


To convert, 1 ppm CO2 in the atmosphere = 2.13 GtC. A GtC is one billion

tons of carbon. So, there are currently about 792 billion tons of carbon

in the earth’s atmosphere, or 6 billion tons more than two years ago.


The CDIAC report also lists the current concentrations of methane (CH4),

nitrous oxide (N2O), and other greenhouse gases.


The report can be found at:


-- Steve Watson









The CDIAC web page also answers a common question: How many units of

carbon dioxide (CO2) will be emitted from burning a gallon of gasoline?


Answer: A good estimate is that you will discharge 19.6 pounds of CO2,

or about 5.3 pounds of carbon (C), from burning 1 gallon of gasoline.

(Weight of C x 3.67 = Weight of CO2) This amount does not depend on the

power or configuration of the engine, but depends only on the chemistry

of the fuel.


-- Steve Watson






(Note: The following article, from Wired Magazine, has a nice, simple

summary of four main types of carbon sequestration being considered by

scientists and policymakers. I’ve added a fifth type at the end of the

article. -- Steve Watson <>)






It sounds like an environmentalist's dream: technology that can trap

greenhouse gas before it harms the atmosphere. How green is it to store

CO2 in oceans, soils and forests, coal deposits, and rock formations?


Here's a rundown of the alternative methods being used.


1. Saline Aquifers (rock formations)


* Technology: CO2 captured from coal-fired power plants is injected into

saline wells. The depth of these aquifers provides enough pressure to

keep the CO2 in liquid form, and the reservoirs are permanently isolated

under dense, impenetrable rock.


* Potential storage: 500 billion tons in the US


* Backed by: Electricity producers


* Where: In New Haven, West Virginia, energy innovator Battelle is

experimenting with storing CO2 produced by an American Electric Power



* Pros and cons: Reduces emissions but promotes fossil fuel power plants

-- leading to more emissions.


* Green factor: Moderate



2. Deep Coal Seams


* Technology: CO2 is shot as deep as 4,500 feet into unminable coal

beds, where it is quickly absorbed. Added bonus: The CO2 displaces

methane, which can be burned as natural gas.


* Potential storage: The US sits on an estimated 4 trillion tons of

coal, 90 percent of it unminable due to seam thickness and depth.

Worldwide, such beds could sequester 150 billion tons of CO2.


* Backed by: Coal industry and power producers


* Where: New Mexico's San Juan Basin


* Pros and cons: Encourages the use of cleaner-burning natural gas, but

also increases the production of coal, one of the most polluting fossil



* Green factor: Moderate



3. Offshore Seabed Aquifers


* Technology: CO2 is injected into natural undersea saline aquifers

thousands of feet below the surface. An impervious bed of rock seals the

CO2 inside.


* Potential storage: Unknown, but could exceed all land-based storage



* Backed by: Oil companies with offshore rigs


* Where: Norway. Statoil deposits about 1 million tons of recovered CO2

annually into the Utsira Sand, a saline formation below the North Sea



* Pros and cons: A convenient way to store CO2 emissions from offshore

drilling, but nobody knows the impact on sea life if the CO2 escapes.


* Green factor: Low



4. Forests


* Technology: Plant a tree. New forests increase the absorption of C02

through photosynthesis.


* Potential storage: Over 40 years, an acre of additional forest removes

150 to 200 tons of CO2.


* Backed by: Certain environmentalists and the energy industry, which

gets good PR for enviro-friendliness


* Where: The US has hundreds of forest-based projects; other major

efforts are under way in Costa Rica and Indonesia.


* Pros and cons: Preserves the environment, but some scientists worry

that CO2 storage in forests isn't fail-safe. Trees die. Forests burn.


* Green factor: High


-- Matthew Yeomans, Wired Magazine, December 2003



5. Agricultural Soils


* Technology: Reduced tillage farming, soil conservation practices,

increased plant material production.


* Potential storage: Soils contain the largest reservoir of carbon in

the terrestrial biosphere, about twice that present in all terrestrial

vegetation. Recent estimates of the potential for soil sequestration by

U.S. agriculture, using existing technologies, are on the order of

75-200 million metric tons of C per year.


Backed by: Agricultural industry, certain environmentalists, U.S.

policymakers, and the energy industry


Where: Worldwide, but interest has been highest in U.S., Canada,

Australia, and New Zealand.


Pros and cons: Improves soil quality and protects water quality, while

taking CO2 from the atmosphere at the same time. But permanence is a

concern. Soil management practices can change.


* Green factor: High


-- Steve Watson









Analysis of air trapped in ice cores drilled from the Antarctic ice

sheet show anomalous increases in carbon dioxide levels beginning 8,000

years ago -- just as croplands began to replace previously forested

regions across Asia and Europe.


About 5,000 years ago, the ice cores reflect a similarly anomalous rise

in methane levels, this time tied to increased emissions from flooded

rice fields, as well as burgeoning numbers of livestock.


Previously, scientists widely assumed it was only with the onset of the

factory age that human activity had any significant effect on the global

climate. The prehistoric changes in carbon dioxide and methane levels

have been noted before but were attributed to natural causes.


The combined increases of the two greenhouse gases implicated in global

warming were slow but steady and staved off what should have been a

period of significant natural cooling, according to Bill Ruddiman,

emeritus professor at the University of Virginia. The prehistoric

practices apparently overrode a buildup of ice that models predict

should have occurred beginning 5,000 years ago.


These explanations from Ruddiman at the fall meeting of the American

Geophysical Union, could explain why the current trends of increasing

CO2 and methane concentrations in the atmosphere predate the industrial

revolution. Further details appear in the December 2003 issue of the

journal Climatic Change.


For more information, see The Economist online, Jan. 13, 2004:









The Kansas Coalition for Carbon Management (KCCM) will meet on Monday,

January 26, 2004, 10:00 a.m., in conjunction with No-Till on the Plains.


The KCCM meeting will be held in Room 201 of the BiCentennial Center,

800 Midway, in Salina, Kansas.


The group will hear reports from the Information and Education

Committees and updates from the Research Committee and the pilot










The Chicago Climate Exchange (CCX) announced that it saw over 31,000

tonnes of carbon dioxide traded in December 2003.


The CCX is a voluntary market based in the U.S. Continuous electronic

trading of CCX Carbon Financial Instruments (CFIs) began on December 12,

2003, leaving just 12 trading days before the end of the month. Total

average daily trading volume was 2,592 tonnes of CO2.


Not surprisingly, December trading volume was concentrated in 2004

Vintage CFIs with 21,600 traded, followed by 2003 vintage at 7,400 and

2005 vintage at 2,100.


“These volumes were well in excess of our expectations, especially since

trading began during the holiday season,” said Richard L. Sandor,

Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of CCX.


 “We are pleased that we had trading activity from Associate Members

[indirect emitters] and Liquidity Providers, as well as those Members

with direct emissions of greenhouse gases. We look forward to increased

average daily volumes in all vintages during 2004.”


The table below summarizes total trading activity for December 2003 (12

trading days) for CCX Carbon Financial Instruments


Vintage: 2003


Low: $0.98

Last: $0.98

Volume: 7,400


Vintage: 2004


Low: $0.90

Last: $0.92

Volume: 21,600


Vintage: 2005


Low: $0.95

Last: $1.00

Volume: 2,100


Price: per metric tonne of CO2. Volume: metric tonne of CO2.



-- PointCarbon, Jan. 7, 2004








January 20-22, 2004

CASMGS Forum: Can Agriculture and Energy Partner Using Soil Carbon

Sequestration to Offset Greenhouse Gases?

College Station, Texas

For more information, contact: (979-845-3153) or see:


May 2-6

Third Annual Conference on Carbon Sequestration

Alexandria, VA

For further information, see:


May 5-7, 2004, GHG Registries, Climate Policy and the Bottom Line, San

Diego, CA. Contact: Gwendy Donaker, California

Climate Action Registry, tel.: +1(213)8916920, fax: +1(213) 6236716,

e-mail:, Internet:




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